American winger, Ryan Matyas has shared a touching story of how he first met Collins and how special the late backrower truly was.
In a touching video, Ryan Matyas has explained how he moved to the UK in his youth to pursue a career in rugby and he ended up crossing paths with the legend that is Jerry Collins. An unlikely friendship blossomed between the pair and Collins took the American under his wing.
He convinced Matyas to go on a night out with a lot of rugby players nearby to help him settle in and ended up regularly meeting the American to give him advice and be there for him.
Matyas goes on to share a lovely story of an interaction Collins had with a homeless man, where the New Zealand international gave him all the money in his wallet, and took of items of clothing to also give to him.
The USA Eagles star becomes visibly emotional when talking about Collins’ tragic death in 2015, saying that Jerry “Did a lot for so many people’s lives”.
An emotional story about All Blacks legend Jerry Collins 🕊️
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 14, 2022
Ryan took to Twitter to describe his meeting with Collins as a “Once in a lifetime moment”.
Last year marked a pivotal event in Matyas’ career as he finally got his chance to play against the All Blacks, just as Jerry Collins had told him he would.
On the field a terminator, off it, one of the most selfless, humble people I’ve ever met. R.I.P. uso. https://t.co/OCzmWoBQrs
— Ryan Matyas (@RyanMatyas1) April 10, 2022
Jerry Collins was a true rugby great, playing nearly 50 times for the formidable All Blacks, and captaining the side twice at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He also had successful stints at Toulon and the Ospreys.
This is not the first great story about Collins which has been unearthed. During a 2007 holiday to Devon, Collins bumped into the Barnstable head coach, who joked that he should come down to the club. In typical Collins style, he of course arrived and proceeded to hold a training session for the junior age ranges.
Stories such as the one told by Matyas reminds the rugby community that Jerry Collins was an equally great man off the pitch as he was on it.